Canada`s Healthy Workplace Month (CHWM) is meant to inspire employees in organizations throughout the year with creative and engaging ideas, and resources for workplace activities. Get Started with these tools:
Promote healthy lifestyles in your workplace using resources, tools and free webinars from Canada's ParticipACTION.
Implement a physical activity questionnaire to determine employees’ interest in physical activity options for your workplace.
Provide health related social functions (bring in a guest speaker, healthy pot luck events, etc)
Provide subsidized memberships at local health and fitness centers.
Implement employee challenges and competition using Pedometers or other fitness tracking incentives.
Create a Workplace Travel Plan that promotes Active travel to and from work (biking, carpooling, walking trails, etc)
ParticipACTION 150 Play List
Encourage employees to get moving with ParticipACTION 150 play list. Browse through the 150 ways to move your body, find your favourites and try as many activities as you can. Employees can participate individually or with their colleagues. Track your activities on the ParticipACTION website to earn awesome prizes!
'Mind Body Fitness'
‘Healthy Body- Healthy Mind’ Being in good health means more than being physically well; it also means mentally well.
Help your employees practice mind-body fitness, and build awareness of how our mental and physical health impact each other.
Have fun and earn rewards. Check out Carrot Rewards and help employees receive rewards for the steps they take. They will be able to earn rewards from their favourite programs like Aeroplan® Miles, SCENE®, Petro-Points™ and More Rewards®. The app tracks your steps and allows you to complete healthy activities to earn more points. You can also sync with your favourite wearable devices for more earning opportunities.
Visit the Carrot Rewards website or download the app to your mobile device
Just Stand Up!
What is the single best thing you can do for your health? Try 30 minutes of walking a day.
“Sitting is the new smoking” and a new health risk identified as ‘sitting disease’ (the ill effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle).
Build awareness in your organization using the resources, tools and videos below.
What is the single best thing you can do for your health? 30 minutes of walking each day! Promote walking clubs and campaigns in your workplace and build awareness on the simple benefits of just walking.
Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to less than 23 and 1/2 hours and break the spread of 'sitting disease'?
ParticipACTION - toolkit
There are many benefits to walking, including increase in fitness, improved weight control, muscle tone, mental health and a better return to recovery. Start walking teams and challenges in your workplace.
Help your employees get started, and educate them on what type of shoes to purchase, warm up exercises to do and how to walk for all seasons.
Start an employee Walk a Thon or Step Count Challenge and track steps; awarding prizes for the top stepper, most improved, best attitude, etc.
Sleep Well Live Well!
Fatigue and stress impact health and safety in the workplace. Help employees understand sleep related disorders and how to combat fatigue.
Raise awareness on how to identify environments susceptible to fatigue, and the relationship of fatigue to psychological health and well-being
Launch a poster campaign that promotes good sleep hygiene and suggests tips to better sleep.
Encourage employees to assess their sleepiness with the National Sleep Foundation Sleepiness Scale
Sharing Dance Day
Dance improves the mental, physical, and emotional health for Canadians of all ages and abilities Register as a team and participate in Canada’s National Ballet School’s Sharing Dance Day. Dancers of all ages and abilities are wanted. No experience required. Learn some choreography; hold your own workplace event or register to dance. Experience the joy and benefits of dance and give back to your community.
Organize a workplace Wellness Challenge inviting employees to participate in fun and healthy activities that encourages healthier lifestyles. Make it competitive with prizes and incentives for departments with the highest participation. For how to organize and ideas for activities check out the resources.
Resources and tools
Take Action Health California ‘Fit Business Kit’
Corporate Wellness Challenge
Invite your local fitness club representatives, Allied Health Professionals (Chiropractors, Dietitians, Massage Therapist, Physiotherapists, etc.), Infection Control Specialists, Spiritual Care representatives, Mental Health Advisors, and Sports team representatives to participate in an onsite Health Fair. Include activities such as health risk screening, flu shots, blood pressure checks, gait and posture checks. Make it fun!
Schedule a spa technician or Massage Therapist to come to your workplace. Ask employees to sign up for a free 20-minute mini massage, mini-facial or mini-manicure.
Resources and Tools
How to Host a Health Fair
Wellness Fairs- Working Well: Bringing Wellness to Work
Corporate Wellness- Preventacare
Virtual Health Fair - Saskatoon Health Region
Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is for everyone! It is running plan developed to help beginner runners get into running! Start a campaign in your workplace!
Launch your workplace running program – create a competition with incentives and rewards for participation and reaching 5K!
Empower employees to get involved in local community events that are health, fun and involve their families to enhance their health. Did you know that 80% of Canadians live within 30 minutes of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT)! The TCT has many opportunities for involvement at the local level with the goal to creating connections across the country throughout 2017 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Join the fun and start a team in your workplace now!
Create a Wellness Committee
Bring a group of employees together to discuss all things wellness. They can work on brainstorming ideas and implementing wellness activities.
Ask the Expert
Bring in a personal trainer for an interactive lunch n learn session on practical workplace exercises and the latest information on how to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Hire an fitness expert to provide different forms of fitness like Zumba, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, strength training, etc.
Back Health Exercise
Share simple and effective exercise that can be done at the home or office for good back health. Incorporate these into a daily employee stretch break.
Hold a Healthy Workplace Expo
Host a healthy workplace expo onsite and bring in a variety of suppliers and different vendors to educate employees on their health!
Change behaviours! Encourage employees to walk the meeting and reduce the time spent sitting.
How many steps do you walk each day? Try the 10,000 Step Challenge and start a competition in your workplace! Learn how to walk for your health!
Schedule department or company-wide stretch breaks.
Bring in a fitness expert to lead your colleagues through an energizing stretch routine appropriate to your workplace.
Take Your Break Today!
Share weekly emails with your team that contain suggestions for activities to do during assigned break times that can have a positive impact on your mental and/or physical health.
Resources and Tools
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
Wellness Book Drive
Collect books on health and wellness topics and start a health library. Encourage employees to donate books as part of a book drive. Health libraries could include links to articles and online books on health and wellness topics - at your employee’s fingertips!
Take the Stairs!
Simply taking the stairs on a regular basis can improve physical health and energy in your workplace. Many stairwells are underused and offer an inexpensive way to improve physical activity levels. Encouraging employees to use the stairs between meetings, or to and from lunch results in healthy benefits such as strengthened, heart and muscle and higher energy levels.
Spruce up your stairwells and start a campaign for stairway to health!
Canadian Stair Climbing Association
Move More...Sit Less Take The Stairs: A Workplace Guide for Stairway Promotion-Project Health
Take the Stairs Challenge Carleton University
Pre-Work Stretch Break
Start each day with a group stretch! Take stretch breaks periodically throughout the day to get employees up and moving!
Participate in World No Tobacco Day
Every year on May 31, World Health Organization celebrates World No Tobacco Day. A new campaign theme is presented each year for new things to learn and new ways to participate. WHO also celebrates organizations’ accomplishments around tobacco control. Think you have what it takes, submit a nomination.
Head over to a local gym or recreation center with your team and take a class together. Taking a 30-minute fitness class together on a lunch break not only helps employees meet their physical activity requirements but also allows for team bonding!
Empower your employees to be active through walking. Walking decreases tension, improves mood, energizes and boosts self-confidence. Promote walking programs in your workplace!
UWALK.ca, a free resource, enables individuals to create a personal profile, track their steps, physical activity minutes (moderate and vigorous), and flights (stairs climbed). In addition, participation is fun with interactive team challenges and ways to earn achievements. Invite your co-workers, friends and family to participate.
Ref: UWALK is a physical activity initiative funded by the Government of Alberta and Developed in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta.
‘Hygienify®’ Your Workplace
Break the chain of germ spread in your workplace. Launch your own campaign to‘Hygienify’ your workplace promoting ‘Wash, Wipe, Sanitize’.
Help your team be more aware and understand the issue of ‘Germ Hot Spots’ and what they can do to stop the spread of infection through, Share this infographic on Creating a Healthier, More Hygienic Building.
Share this research with your leaders/colleagues on how ‘Wash, Wipe, Sanitize’ can reduce flu (86%) and viral infections (62%) and overall absenteeism (46%) in your workplace.
Do you have a Germ Personality? Check out this quiz to learn your type.
Use these communication tools and resources available for your workplace Hygienify® campaign
Source: Kimberly-Clark Professionals Healthy Workplace Project
Infection Control Awareness
The key to any effective Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) event in your workplace, lies in the provision of activities that will maintain high interest. IPAC resources and tools are available to support a number of activities in your workplace.
Resource: Public Health Ontario – Infection Prevention and Control (IPCAC).
Slogan contest - hold the contest before the event; circulate the Mission Statement with the announcement of the contest; the winning slogan could become the major theme
"Trivial Pursuit" game - use pertinent Infection Control questions in a questionnaire or card game; game can be played individually or in groups; develop a score sheet and award small prizes
Questionnaire/Q&A Cards - have questions relating to practices, policies and procedures completed by individuals who stop by your display, and award prizes to those who answer all the questions correctly. This is a good way to check the level of knowledge and pinpoint trouble areas. Or leave cards in coffee rooms and lounges.
Exhibitors - contact your local supply representatives, they might be interested in setting up display booths, and are great sources for giveaway items, buttons etc.
Tours - arrange a tour of your department, laboratories, etc.; set up displays and demonstrations. Don't forget refreshments!
Clean Hands Campaign
If we all practiced vigilant hand hygiene and cross contamination awareness we would eliminate many preventable respiratory and food borne infectious disease. Help your employees “stay well” with these activities.
Celebrate Clean Hands Week in your organization (Sept 14 – 20, 2014). Launch your own campaign with incentives and competing teams.
Resources: International Clean Hands Week and download the Poster for building awareness in your workplace.
- Test your hand washing skills - have participants check how well they have washed their hands using "glow in the dark" powders and solutions, available from from local infection control providers. Or have them put on gloves and then wash with coloured finger-paint, to see where they have missed.
Hands that Care - take photographs of the hands and faces of various prominent individuals in your facility, then paste them onto a poster. Have people try to match the hands with the faces, with a prize to the winner.
Resources: International Clean Hands Week
Health and Safety
Celebrate National Injury Prevention Day in July!
Raise awareness of preventable injuries in the workplace. Evaluate existing safety program and find ways to improve it. Encourage employee feedback on the current safety of their work environment. Schedule a health and safety talk or meeting. Check out Parachute Canada to find out more ways you can support National Injury Prevention Day.
Workplace Safety Audit
Occupational health and safety is an important part of Being Well! Ensure your workplace is health and safety compliant and go beyond just involving your Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee members in inspections. Build awarenss with all employees in workplace health and safety. Make involvement fun with incentives and prizes for participation. Celebrate health and safety in your workplace.
Make improvements to the work environment and how job tasks are conducted e.g., reducing steps, reach and safety. Bring in an Ergonomics Professional to speak on the importance of appropriate working ‘space’.
The Fundamentals of Ergonomics - The Treasury Board of Canada
Checklist – The Treasury Board of Canada
Mental Health Awareness
Not Myself Today
Join the campaign for Not Myself Today to educate and engage employees on the issues of mental health in the workplace, and how to reduce the stigma of mental health. Use the free tools and resources available, including an Activity Guide, posters, buttons, fact sheets, communications templates to get started!
Mental Health First Aid
As well as offering onsite CPR and First Aid certification, provide your employees the opportunity to become certified in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Ensure your colleagues and managers are equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in their co-workers at work with Mental Health First Aid.
MHFA trained employees will help equip your organization to:
- Recognize and understand the symptoms of mental health problems, including those related to substance abuse
- Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state
- Promote the recovery of good mental health by accommodating employees in distress or recovering from a crisis
- Increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and overall pressure on benefits
Mental Health Commission of Canada - Mental Health First Aid Canada
Ways you can help someone going through a mental health emergency- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Reduce Mental Health Stigma
Stop the stigma associated with mental illness. Build awareness on how to reduce it in your workplace and create a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
- Share ‘Working Through It’ . A video-based resource to help individuals reclaim well-being at work, off work or when returning to work. It focuses on video interviews of real people sharing their experiences of working through times of mental health pressures. Source: Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace's website, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health
Employee/ Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
Build employee awareness and understanding of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, by contacting your EAP or EFAP to use their services in disseminating educational material including articles and webinars on such topics as violence prevention, health promotion, and resilience, to name a few.
- Sign the free and voluntary Charter for Mindful Employer Canada demonstrating your organizations commitment to supporting mental health in the workplace. Educate your leaders and employees on mental health at work and use resources and tools to promote mental health and eliminate stigma for employees seeking help.
WELLth Management - Take the Mental Health at Work Challenge
Build Management Awareness
Educate management on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. Help your leaders to recognize the signs and symptons of employees dealing with mental illness and to understand the stigma associated with mental illness and their role to reducing it in the workplace.
Resources and Tools:
National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health Great-West Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
Workplace Safety Prevention Services (WSPS) Healthy Workplace Resources.
MHCC Leadership Framework for Advancing Mental Health
Mental Health Works. Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Awareness Tips
Make mental health information meaningful to the employees in your workplace by connecting it to everyday life events.
Share these 1 minute videos with your team!
The videos provide examples of normal everyday life events that can indicate the need for further attention and understanding. In doing so the observer becomes more aware and knowledgeable about mental health issues in the workplace, at home and community.
Take a Mental Health Quiz!
On the Agenda
Get mental health on your workplace agenda! Encourage employees to talk about mental health and build awareness of how to create psychologically healthy and safe workplaces. See Great-West Life’s On the Agenda series, including videos, presentation slides and other materials that will help engage employees in strategies to improve psychological health and safety in the workplace.
Raise Awareness About Depression and Anxiety in the Workplace
Provide practical strategies to raise awareness on how to support individuals with mental health issues in the workplace. Learn how to discuss mental health issues in your workplace Resources: free online tools and templates for building awareness in your workplace -Beyond Blue .
Identify Workplace Mental Health Risks
Check the psychological health and safety status of your workplace. Consider conducting a workplace psychosocial risk assessment to identify factors that influence psychological health and safety in your workplace.
Learn more about the psychosocial risk factors in the workplace (those organizational factors that impact the psychological health and safety of employees). Involve employees in identifying your workplace hazards and the development of action plans to reduce risk.
Workplace Mental Health Promotion (CMHA)
Guarding Minds @ Work
- Workplace Stressors - Help employees understand external factors that influence work-related stress (i.e. financial, eldercare, fatigue) and offer resources, tools, and tips to cope. See CCOHS' fact sheet on Workplace Stress- General
- Develop a Safety Check list - Build awareness of the psychological risks in your workplace. Involve your colleagues in the identification of potential psychological risks and hazards in your organization, and keep expanding it as suggestions continue to be contributed. Create teams and provide incentives in recognition of the contributors.
Depression in the Workplace
Educate your employees on what depression and/or arthritis are, how they impact one’s health, wellness, and quality of life, and how they can be managed. See “Work With Us” to access materials, including posters and handouts that you can distribute in the workplace to build awareness of the stigma of mental health and tips on how to manage depression and arthritis. See the tools and resources for Canadians living with depression and/or arthritis.
Build a culture of dignity and respect by building employee awareness of workplace Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination.
Workplace Bullying Invite your Manager to participate in a self-assessment questionnaire>
Resource Bullying in the Workplace Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Distribute fliers to all employees to educate about bullying in the workplace, including reporting, investigation, and complaint resolution process.
“Resources – Bullying & Harassment in the Workplace” Worksafe BC
Workplace Bullying Institute
Create and implement an anti-violence policy.
Resource Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Workplace Discrimination Develop and implement anti-discrimination/harassment policies.
Bullying in the Workplace: A handbook for the workplace Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare (OSACH)
Healthy Body - Healthy Mind
Check Up from the Neck Up!
Try an easy to use, online, private, mental health check-up in your workplace. Incorporate it into an onsite Wellness Day or Health Clinic, as an activity raise awareness on the importance of mental health in the workplace.
Lunch Hour Walks
Provide opportunities for employees to ‘meet and walk’ with others during lunch.
Some people just need to be told there’s a group going for a stroll! Pick a destination or a route. Count your daily steps with a ParticipACTION pedometer.
Healthy Break Activities
Subscribe to weekly Take Your Break emails sponsored by Great-West Life Workplace Strategies for Mental Health. Each week you will receive healthy break activities that give you energy or promote a sense of calm and help you relax. Employees can participate individually or as a team and can share their experiences and photos of the activity on the Great-West Life Center for Mental Health in the Workplace website!
Did someone lend a helping hand leaving you extremely appreciative? Give employees the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of their coworkers. Employees can submit cards that offer their praise and gratitude to someone else at work. These cards can then be displayed on a Gratitude Board for everyone to see!
Understand Work Stressors
Conduct a stress management workshop to help employees understand the causes of their personal stress and techniques for managing and coping.
- Take a break. Even a few minutes of "personal time" will go a long way to rejuvenate your mental health. Go for a short walk, have a coffee with a colleague, or simply relax for a few minutes.If you feel angry, walk away. Take time to refresh by counting to 10, then look at the situation again. Walking and other physical activities will also help you work off steam.
- Set reasonable standards for yourself and others. Don't expect perfection. Talk to your employer about your job description. Your responsibilities and performance criteria may not accurately reflect what you are doing. Working together to make needed changes will not only benefit your emotional and physical health, but also improve the organization's overall productivity.
Build your own Stress Relief Tool Kit!
Reduce Financial Stress!
Build financial literacy!
Help your employees become more financially literate and better able to understand their finances and better plan for financial freedom.
Bring in an expert to lead a seminar on money management skills or investment ideas. Ask an expert from your organizations benefit program, EAP or engage the services of a non-profit credit counselling agency to provide high-quality financial wellness sessions, such as credit management, budgeting, goal setting, financial planning and lifestyle changes.
Promote a week of stress buster activities, events, exercises that your colleagues can do at their desk or with others over the week.
- Share the 10 Stress Buster tips in your workplace, including building emotional strength, taking control of your situation and connecting with others.
- Include stress buster ideas in the 'tip of the day' emails and posters
- Teach 'anywhere breathing exercises' , mediation or mindfulness exercises to help employee de-stress at anytime
Help your managers support people who are struggling with work/life balance or heightened work demands.
According to Duxbury and Higgins, to reduce work-life conflict and improve overall quality of life, employers need to focus their efforts on four sets of initiatives such as increasing the number of supportive managers within the organization, providing flexibility around work, increasing employee's sense of control and focusing on creating a more supportive work environment
Coordinating initiatives to support work life balance requires a number of considerations. Help your managers by providing a tool kit of resources to support work life balance.
Resources and Tools
Meditation - tools to get started
Health at Work: Activity Ideas and Kits- Work-Life Balance
Ref: Peterborough Public Health
Take Control - Time Management Tips!
There’s a solution to any problem. Feeling a loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of well-being.
Help employees feel empowered, by sharing learning techniques to manage their time.
Eat Well - Stay Well
Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment – A Call to Action!
In many workplaces the nutrition environment is a public health concern! Develop regular communications on nutrition (e.g., healthy recipes for work, nutrition tips, myth busting, etc) using posters, table tents, news releases, etc to keep employees informed and aware. Check out resources available for employers and workers to help foster a Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment.
The Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health has developed resources and tools for employers, workers' advocates, and workplace wellness committees to encourage workplaces to take action!
Resource and tools:
Healthy Eating Lunch & Learn Seminars
Host interesting wellness-related topic(s) and the lunch crowd will be eating up the new information. Provide healthy light snacks.
Invite a Registered Dietitian in to speak on healthy eating topics, such as: high protein drinks and diets, vitamin supplementation, exercise and nutrition, myths and facts, etc.
Have Wellness Roves (travelling food cart) – engage employees in sampling unique foods, celebrating the different cultures in your workplace. Provide nutritional information, have a guessing “This or That” game to determine which choice is healthier, has more sugar, fat, etc.
Build awareness. Provide nutrition magazines for employees to read in lunch rooms and break areas.
Resources and tools
Dietitians of Canada
Ask a Dietitian
Help employees become more aware and begin to understand their eating habits - how often and what they are eating - and learn how to make gradual changes to their eating behaviours. Share tips at a lunch and learn event..
Supermarket Tours: Have a Dietitian take employees on a 'food label reading' tour at the local supermarket and learn more about what is in the food we eat and why this is important to their health.
Source Find a Dietitian - Dietitians of Canada
Learn what you are eating, and change nutrition habits. How much water do you drink? Are you getting enough protein? How often do you eat? How frequently do you take a proper lunch break? Learn how to track food intake and self monitor you nutrition habits.
Share this resource: EATracker.ca
Farmers Market at your Workplace
Shifting values, lack of time, reliance on prepared foods, cost and availability of food, are some of the factors influencing how and what we eat.
Launch a healthy eating campaign to encourage meal preparation and sit down meals. Inspire your colleagues to get back to cooking basics!
- Show videos of Dietitians sharing cooking tips
- Download your free app Cookspiration and get recipe ideas based on what you and your family feel like eating
Eat Well - Be Active
Take Back the Lunch Break
Encourage employees to eat a healthy meal away from their desk..
Celebrate Take Back the Lunch Break! Encourage employees to get away from work during lunch, eat with friends or go for a quick walk. Build awareness about the benefits. Often taking a break will make you more creative and productive. Related resource: Eat Well, Live Well
Celebrate workplace diversity. Host a Culture Themed Potluck lunch with your team, as a promotion in your Cafeteria.
Nutrition for Shiftworkers
Many shiftworkers find it a challenge to know what to eat, and when to eat while working shifts. Shifts can upset your body’s internal clock that tells your body to be awake during the day and to sleep at night.
Help your shiftworkers stay healthy, active and alert.
- Use posters and social media communications to share '10 Nutrition Tips for Shiftworkers'
- Nutrition tips for shiftworkers Eat Right Ontario
- Nova Scotia Healthy Eating Guide
- Shiftwork: Health Effects & Solutions Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers
- Nutrition & Shiftwork City of Hamilton
Healthy Habits That Work!
Many of us spend the majority of our waking hours in the workplace, so it is logical that work has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being. Here are some ideas to encourage healthy lifestyle practices at your workplace, including healthy eating:
- Listen to a free webinar to get up to speed on healthy habits you can adopt during your working hours, and how your employer can do their part to help. Source: Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
- Display healthy eating information in appropriate places in the workplace (e.g. kitchen, canteen, dining room)
- Provide free or subsidised fresh fruit and vegetables in the workplace
- Establish workplace policies that promote and support employees to eat healthily e.g. workplace healthy catering policy
- Offer healthy food options in vending machines
- Arrange a mobile food service that offers healthy options
- Provide subsidies for the purchase of nutrition related books e.g. cookbooks
Eat Well and Be Active!
Build awareness on the link between healthy eating/physical activity and mental health. Check out the free resources including poster, activities and images you can use to promote Eat Well and Be Active Every Day in your workplace. Educational activities are available to promote eating well and being physically active.
See the activity guide: Health Canada Eat Well and Be Active Educational Tools
See Healthy Nutrition tips for Walking. See The Walking Site
Estimate your calorie needs See Active.com
Heart & Stroke Big Bike
Start a team and participate in the Heart & Stroke Big Bike fundraising event. 29 riders will work together to pedal one Big Bike. Foster team bonding and help fund critical research! The ride takes 15-20 mins. To start a team, visit the website, select a province, city and ride location and you are on your way.
ref: Heart and Stroke Canada
Celebrate National Volunteer Week
Dedicate this week to acknowledging volunteers in your organization. Promote ways for employees to get involved in giving back to their communities. Recognize the little ways in which employees volunteer every day, such as shoveling a neighbor’s drive way, offering someone a ride to work, or taking a lost animal to an animal shelter. Organize a contest to encourage employees to volunteer, provide prizes! Check out the website!
Habitat for Humanity
Sign Up with Habitat for Humanity. Interested in getting your company involved hands-on in a Habitat for Humanity project?
‘Build Days’ are great for teambuilding and show that your company cares about the community and helping low-income families that could benefit from the hand up of homeownership.
Contact Habitat for Humanity for information about projects in your area.
‘Giving Back’ to your community
Giving to others as either small acts of kindness or large ongoing volunteer efforts can lead to feelings of positive self-worth and happiness helping to create a positive state of mind. Create teams and opportunities for your employees to get involved.
Serve a Meal to the Homeless Organize an evening or weekend when your company can volunteer at a food bank or help with feeding the homeless.
Lend Your Skills Ask your organization about donating your skills to a charitable project that fosters community care and good corporate citizenship.
Fundraising can be a fun- social -charitable -event at work! Some of the most inspirational team building opportunities come from working together for a common cause.
Host a charity drive in your workplace to support a co-worker or family member who is ill, or a local community charity, such as Salvation Army or Food Bank. Link the drive to a competitive event (5K run or walk) and encourage participation with incentives.
These types of events are both meaningful and fun – inspiring Play at Work!
Corporate Social Responsibility
Help employees understand the broader impacts of mental health issues and the need for corporate social responsibility for mental health that goes beyond the workplace including our families, communities, and society at large.
Provide a series of short videos related to mental health in the workplace running all day or during breaks and mealtimes. Be sure to offer treats (e.g. popcorn).
Mental Health Works Source: Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Working Through It A video-based resource to help individuals reclaim well-being at work, off work or when returning to work. It focuses on video interviews of real people sharing their experiences of working through times of mental health pressures. Their messages, aimed at employees, include three important themes – you are not alone; there are things you can do to reclaim your well-being; and there is hope for a better tomorrow.
Play at Work
Bring Back Play
Get Moving! Turn off the Screen and Turn up the Play!
Host an Unplug & Play event in your workplace, and promote group fun and healthy lifestyles at the same time - using a variety of customizable marketing tools.
Kick off the event by encouraging your leaders to participate and Lead by Example` - turning off their electronic devices and enjoying a healthy workplace activity with employees.
Schedule activities for 60 minutes without electronic devices – just playtime!
Radio scripts, Print Ads, Social Media Posts, and more can be downloaded from the ParticipACTION Tool Kit.
Add your own branding and message to be part of the movement to Bring Back Play.
More resources: ParticipACTION
Here from the experts – why Play is more than just physical activity. see The National Institute for Play
Provide opportunities for employees to sign-up for after-work activities like rock climbing, laser tag or dodge ball to encourage group sport, teamwork and a healthy lifestyle.
Start a hockey league, baseball team, soccer team with employee representatives as team leads and coordinators.
Create Your Own Smile
Promote activities that focus on ‘Fun and Humour at Work’. Provide the tools to help individuals, teams and businesses become healthier and happier in all aspects of life by increasing hopefulness, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.
Check out the ‘Smile Epidemic’ website and resources, tools to help employees understand the importance and vast difference that can take place when we invest in our mental health, well-being and happiness.
The ‘Smile Epidemic’ applies concepts from the field of Positive Psychology to educate others about the benefits of practicing expressed gratitude in an effort to increase overall mental health and well-being.
See the tools to help individuals, teams and workplaces become healthier and happier in all aspects of life by increasing hopefulness, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.
Source: The Smile Epidemic
Happiness at Work
There is much evidence about the benefits of positive psychology and its link to leadership and employee engagement.
Create a poster with tips for positive thinking:
‘3 Gratitude’s a day’ - Identify 3 new things for 21 days. Brain begins to write a pattern to see the world more positively.
Journaling – write down one positive experience you have had over the last 24 hours teaches your brain to re-live these moments.
Exercise - Teaches your brain that behavior matters
Meditation - Detaches you from multi-tasking. Increases your focus on the task at hand.
Random Acts of Kindness – i.e., send 1 positive email thanking somebody in your social support network
Source: Ted Talks: Shawn Achor – The Secret to Better Work
Introduce Art Therapy in Your Organization
Art Therapy is the use of art to improve emotional and mental well-being, fostering self-expression, stress management and coping abilities. Organize a team event in your workplace and visit your local Art Gallery!
Host a Lunch n Learn for your colleagues featuring an Art Therapist speaking on how the creative processes of art benefit our health and well-being.
For more information visit: see International Art Therapy or the Toronto Art Therapy Institute
'Giving Back' at Work
Pay It Forward
Engage and inspire your employees in Pay It Forward Day events. Pay It Forward is about giving to someone else and making a positive difference by inspiring and engaging others. There are many ways that your workplace can get involved in Pay it Forward initiatives. Enable employees to help support a ‘charity of choice’ by offering time off for participation, and encourage particpation with posters, incentives and team events, including:
- Have a departmental challenge whereby each department competes with each other to make a positive contribution to the community, and donate funds raised to favourite workplace charities
Celebrate staff appreciation by providing a healthy lunch or snack (like apples!)
Provide a mental health break with a short 10-minute breathing/yoga class
Host a bake sale, sending proceeds to a charity of choice
Go 'green' and host a day to collect things like light-bulbs, old cellphones, batteries, etc.
Hold a clothing/food drive and donate to a local charity
Set up a book exchange in a centralized location and encourage employees to bring in books to share, and others to help themselves for free
Encourage individual acts of kindness - Create Posters, Bingo cards or Check off lists with incentives to encourage staff participation. Sample activities include:
Buy a coffee/tea for someone
Give “Thank You” and “Values” cards to co-workers to show their appreciation
Mentor someone (on professional or personal level)
- Simple: Smile, hold the door or elevator for someone
Replace what you've used/is empty: i.e. the printer paper, fresh pot of coffee, etc.
- Invite someone new to lunch
Download tools and resources to support activities. See free stuff
Source: Pay It Forward Day (PIFD)
Breakfast for Learning
Plan your event! No matter how big or small your team is, you can help make a difference! Develop your own Breakfast for Learning fundraising event and build team spirit with your co-workers, family and friends. It’s fun and easy to do!
Breakfast for Learning can lend a hand. See the helpful resources like third-party event guidelines, child nutrition education resources and pledge cards to support your event. - See more Breakfast for Learning
Connect with others
Encourage workplace activities that help employees understand the link between relationships and mental well-being, and the importance of a ‘people focused’ culture.
Show-off Your Family - Create a Family Wall where employees can post a family photo, or encourage them to display family photos at their workstations so others can get to know their loved ones better.
Count the Dependents Day
Have each department count and report the number of dependents connected to employees. You may be surprised with the results.
Have lunch with a Colleague
Spend time catching up. Even better, organize a reunion of several friends. Determine a time for the next get-together before everyone leaves
Monthly Team Outings
Have team members organize monthly staff outings by giving each person a month to plan for.
Organize a Business Learning Opportunity
Learning new skills can fill a personal need, but also lead to feelings of deep satisfaction and improved self-confidence. Not-for-profit organizations often need skilled people to assist with budgeting, strategic planning, and project management roles. The United Way looks to the business community each year for coordinators and managers for yearly initiatives. Board members for this type of organization are often difficult to find.
Family Time. Make time each day to spend with your family, i.e., “family time” that is fixed each day
Switch off the electronics (TV, Smart Phones) tonight and play a game with your children, or just talk.
Take time to visit a friend or family member who needs support or company.
Volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group. This is also a way of giving your time.
Celebrate the volunteers in your workplace. Select the employee(s) who role model exemplary volunteerism and giving back to the community and showcase the winners at a Volunteer Appreciation event.
Make it a charity drive and ask employees to donate to the winners charity of choice.